Color Diamond Overtones- When a Diamond Has More Than One Color

Hey everyone this is Daniel Namdar with #Diamondtalk and I wanted to explain a very interesting topic, and that’s Color Diamond Overtones, or “modifying colors.”

There are primary colors like black and white, the colors of the rainbow etc. and then there are secondary colors. For example there’s white and there’s black but if you mix them, you get gray. There’s blue and there’s purple, but together it becomes violet.


In general when we identify things we see in our life, we identify them as one color. Like a “blue bag” or a “red brick,” but often that color isn’t the only one in play. Take a lime for example. A lime is green right? People even use the term “lime green.” While it’s true that it’s mainly green, limes also have a touch of yellow, which give them a very specific hue that became famous as “lime green.” And if you look at a lime next to grass; they’re both green but they’re not the same exact color either.

Because the tone or hue of the diamond can affect the value tremendously, when grading a color diamond, the GIA is extremely specific in identifying what the main color is, and any secondary colors within the diamond. The GIA can sometimes attribute even three colors to a diamond. For example a “Fancy Grayish Yellowish Green,” or a “Fancy Brownish Orangey Pink.” (Always with the last color being the primary color.)

Now do overtones affect the value of a diamond? Absolutely. It just depends on what the “modifying” color is. There’s no set rule or chart that will tell you exactly at what percentage a certain modifier will affect the value of a diamond- this is why you need a professional. Some modifiers can even add value.

Though as a general rule- colors with no modifiers are more valuable than ones that have; because in someone’s head when they want a blue diamond, they want a blue diamond, and not a greenish or grayish blue diamond. When someone wants a yellow diamond, they want a pure lemon yellow diamond, not a golden brownish yellow. These are called “straight colors.” But sometimes a modifying can add a certain level of sweetness that straight colors don’t have. For example some Fancy Purplish Pinks have a very desirable “bubble gum” pink color, when many straight pinks are not as sweet and charming, even though they’re technically worth more.

To sum up; the world of overtones is endless and at the end of the day, what diamond you should buy is personal taste. Some people may prefer a lime green to a grass green, and there’s no right or wrong. You just have to make sure that the person who’s selling you your diamond is making you aware of how that specific overtone is affecting the value, and the overall look of the stone (because no two cases are identical.)

As always, we’re happy to discuss further with any questions or comments you may have. Thanks for reading #Diamondtalk, check out our other articles going in depth on the different modifiers for pink and blue diamonds.


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